Cambodia Travel and Facts

The journey to interesting things to do and see.

Today just take Air Asia in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur or by Tiger Airways at Changi Airport in Singapore and have fun with great holidays. 
Several border crossings, 2 airports and a deep sea port in Sihanoukville are the gateway to the country from Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. In general Cambodia holiday can be cheap holiday no matter where you go. 

One tip about "low-cost hotels", try guesthouses, the reason is they pay lower taxes than the first ones. That mean lower prices, so many keep the designation but offer just the same as a normal hotel. 

Cambodia flight destination is Phnom Penh

The destination is also served by some other airlines such as Silk Air and Bangkok Airways but just forget them they are relatively very expensive. Example Air Asia charges for the Bangkok Phnom Penh flight Baht 1500,- Bangkok Airways pulls Baht 4500,- etc. got the message ? The Siem Reap flights means travel to Angkor.

Phnom Penh Airport is a small one which receives aircraft mainly from the countries around. They work quite fast and efficient although not having the glitter of Suvarnabhumi of Bangkok, read more.

Currency is the Riel.

The country has a rather strange currency which is fixed to the US Dollar at a rate of 4 Riel to one $. It is absolute common to pay in $, but it needs some small money for little things in the countryside and you are expected to take small bills back as change when paying in dollars. Finally that means no need to change money just take small $ bills with you, Riel banknotes you will get automatically and everyone expects the "green buck" from you anyway.

To have the Riel fixed to the US currency makes sense since it keeps inflation under control. In general Cambodia is still a rather cheap country and ideal when you want pleasant tropical holidays on a lower budget.

Tropical Climate.

It's a tropical one were the temperature moves very rarely below 20 degree centigrade and it follows the monsoon pattern. That means rain from May to October and dry the other time. It is really such simple only sometimes clouds come in over the South China Sea and offload their wet freight over the hill-ranges such as the Cardamon Mountains, more about the weather.

Cambodian culture is "Khmer Culture".

The recent times has no much to do with culture, rather with horror and you better leave the people alone instead of to warm up the horror stories. They already had enough and most people don't want to be remind to the dread of the recent past. It needs to understand that all this could not have happen without the active involvement of the Chinese Government of that time and as it looks this people are not as stupidly driven by lunatic ideology as it was before. 

Actually it does not look that anything like that will happen again since the country was pulled out of the Chinese grip although they still do a lot of damage in the nature environment issue, more about Khmer Culture.

Travel around by bus.

PP to Bangkok >  Koh Kong to PP >  PP to Siem Reap >  

A typical travel route (90% of the visitors are tourists) could be from Singapore or Bangkok, do some advance booking via the internet and land at the Capital, Angkor or the beaches in the south around Sihanoukville.

Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok

Mo Chit Bus Terminal >

Now the overland route via Bangkok and Trat in Thailand.

Start is at Mo Chit bus station from there you have 3 possibilities for travel to the Cambodian border at Aranyapradet. 

Bus counter for Cambodia
First is take the direct bus to Siem Reap (means one vehicle all way through they will guide you through at the border). 

Second is take the bus south to Trat (also starts at Mo Chit but at a different counter) / Koh Chang and after to Koh Kong. 

From Bangkok to Trat is about 6 hours drive and from there to the boundary 1.30 hours. The Minibus from "Trat terminal" leaves every 30 minutes. 

Bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap

immigration counter at Aranyapradet for Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

For Phnom Penh it needs to change the bus at the border anyway, it's about 12 to 14 hours.

Even if you want to travel direct to lets say the capital it's worth to make this little detour through the south, why? The roads to Siem Reap > and PP have again degraded to a disaster level (2015), about a third of the distance on both ways are only dirt roads. Now when using a bus to Trat and after to Koh Kong a good road is available throughout. 

Khmer people > at the border offer to process your passport, let them do it, give them hundred Baht sit down and relax. After a while they will come and ask you to pay the visa, now the cheating starts. The immigration guy will ask you either $ 30,- or around one thousand Baht but the regular fee is $ 20,- they will argue you didn't give them two photos if you didn't you have lost. If you want to pay with Baht it's ok either but then it's 1000,- anyway. For this you get a one month tourist visa / single entry. 

Also at this crossing are much less people, after you are through take a motorbike taxi for around Bahr 100,- and move on. You can stay overnight in Koh Kong City ( they have enough good hotels) and the next morning take the bus to Phnom Penh >, talk to the hotel people about the ticket they have it available at the reception. Since the price is written on it there is not much cheating possible. The border opens at 7 am and closes at 8 pm.

Cheap Cambodia holiday by bus to Phnom Penh

Using the bus means cheap Cambodia holiday.

When taking the coach the real problem are the roads outside the big cities, they are real bad, not all but most. Although this is cheap travel it could be better, they are not good at all, most are on a dirt road level (beginning of 2015) although the country is developing quick there are plenty of negative sides.

On the road from the Thai border always flat

Even traveling from the Thai border to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is a real disaster by road, actually a government who is such negligent on even the most basics infrastructure is definitely not worth to be called a government. On the other hand donor countries are helping with millions of dollars and the UN and NGO people are are around always with the biggest and most luxurious SUV. Is there money misused?   

Cambodia rivers
Most interior is flat and plenty of rivers and streams supply an abundance of water which sometimes runs almost dry. 

Here are Angkor Wat tours >

Welcome to a Angkor Wat tour the guide is waiting
Welcome to Siem Reap by the apsaras
Baray at Angkor Wat

To counter that the old Khmer built canals and storage systems, the most prominent are the Barays of Angkor > from where the old Khmer received most water during the dry season. 
crossing the Mekong over rapids

The Mekong river > is the main water source moves in from the north-west, traverses the flat plains and empty into the sea via a large delta in Vietnam. On the picture above people cross the turbulent water over a home made rope bridge.

Sre Ambel in Cardamon Mountains

Sre Ambel in the Cardamon Mountains >

Sokha Beach at Sihanoukville and some activities

Sokha Beach at Sihanoukville >

Ochheuteal Beach Fun

Ochheuteal Beach >

Cambodia is a great destination in South East Asia where cheap holidays are still available for different purpose which are culture oriented, with beautiful beaches or maybe just get lost in the wilderness of the south west and north east.

Cheap bus travel tickets

Moving cheap on the road and water.

The country is squeezed between Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, for more geographical data see the map below left. Since there are plenty of rivers it makes some sense to use ships and boats when available, but usually it's the bus people use for travel. 

Although there is a flight link between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. In Bangkok the cheapest are available at Mo Chit Bus Terminal which is close to the elevated BTS train station.

Buy cheap bus ticket for travel to Cambodia and elsewhere
From Bangkok to Siem reap by cheap bus tickets in good coaches

The other connection is from the airport directly to the border at Aranyaprathet and there it needs to ind another transport. That is every day at about 7 am and Saturday is a second one at around 2 pm. Ticket prices are somehow similar to Mo Chit where the coach in the afternoon, around 2 pm makes a direct link. 

coming to cambodia from thailand road border crossing

at Aranyaprathet border

That means you get out at the Thai side, go through and on the Cambodian side the same vehicle is waiting carrying you into the city center of Siem Reap. That one is a bit more expensive but it's worth it to be on a safe and quick ride, only the road is real lousy (2015).  

highway transport business maybe difficult

There are also car and scooter rentals plus plenty of hotels at the relevant places although it is advisable to make some booking in the internet before at least for the first few days.

Bangkok to Siem Reap is served by aircrafts and coaches. There are two international airport, one is in the capital Phnom Penh, the other in Siem Reap which is the gateway to Angkor Wat, Thom and the ruins around. There are no hotels, and any similar infrastructure in Angkor itself.
From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by bus

From Siem Reap to Phnom Penh are two variants, first the coaches as pictured above and second is a speed boat on the Tonle Sap River. The boat ticket cost about three times as much as the road travel. 

There are two more subjects on this first on the road a interesting view into the countryside is available on the water only a few boats can be seen. The other is, since the roads are real lousy, partly just simple dirt roads this should be considered when choosing. All hotels are selling the tickets and you will be picked up free of charge with a tuk-tuk, read more.

From Bangkok to Phnom Penh
From Bangkok to Phnom Penh

From Koh Koh Kong to Phnom Penh
From Koh Koh Kong to Phnom Penh

The territory is mostly flat with a couple of higher hill ranges such as the Cardamom mountains in the west which forms a weather barrier with the South China Sea and the Dangrek range along the northern border  with Thailand separate the country from their western neighbor. Some highlands are in the extreme northeast near to Vietnam. Actually the country has no real mountains, this are all some hill ranges in geological terms.
Dirt bike tours
Dirt bike tours

Tonle Sap River Port
Tonle Sap River Port

Bokor National Park

The best national park day trip in Kampot.

It needs to be in good condition since the trek up is rough and steep but the reward is worth it, don't do this with slippers! 

It seems that all this is still under military control, we even had a soldier with a machine gun with us (2015). There is great nature waiting and a incredible panorama over the coast and ocean from the burned ruins of the casino at the top of the hill. 
Preah Monivong (Bokor) National Park is in Kampot Province. 

phnom bokor national park and Kampot coast panorama

There is tree and bamboo jungle, great waterfalls and some scenery out of a horror movie. In the wilds of southern Cambodia close to Sihanoukville it's a real highlight, a nature perspective in a totally different direction as Angkor Wat

Bokor should be on any travel plan when visiting the country, its only a few hour with the bus from Phnom Penh over a good road to Kampot. Tours are available every day, just talk with the hotel they arrange everything.

Phnom Bokor National Park Trekking

national park trekking at Bokor
National park trekking at Bokor

trekking at Bokor Mountain and protection

Here is great nature also already extensively used up in the past until the revolution put the dark blanket over it. But history often repeats itself and there are many intentions to get another hotel up there since this is a ideal recreational destination with a great view over the South China Sea. The pretty panorama and the waterfall nearby is worth a visit indeed.

Bokor National Park Tour at the Casino

bokor national park waterfall

waterfall pool at bokor national park

bokor waterfall

bokor waterfall pool

beautiful falls in cambodia

freshen up at the beautiful falls

attractive water game in kampot

marvelous view of the falls

To the west is Sihanoukville and from there the bus is waiting to Koh Kong with more great visiting with a different twist, no ruins, no temples, just waterfalls, wilderness, rivers and ideal for dirt biking, trekking and dirt bike tours can be made up to the Bokor Hill Station and around.

A young man is our tour guide for the trek at the Bokor National Park in Kampot, the idea is to trek up the mountain to the hill station.

Bokor Hill Station on top

The road from Kampot.

Up at the hill station casino

It's not easy to move up and down since the road is under permanent construction which is a difficult undertaking considering the terrain, before it was only a dirt road. 

The mountain road into the park is already finished and also the asphalt cover is done but the trekking group climb down from the back of the truck and off we go into the quiet forest, the truck will move on without us and wait a couple of kilometers further up at the meeting point we will reach in about 2 hours. 

This is a constant climbing and the trail is over slippery earth, limestone boulders, through the bamboo jungle and plenty of other lush tropical jungle. As a matter of fact Phnom Bokor is a very interesting Cambodia National Park in a tropical environment.
The thickets are very dense from time to time which makes the walk difficult on top of it there are constantly sharp broken bamboo pieces popping out from the earth i guess everyone can imaging what happen when losing balance and fall into this bamboo spears, means good shoes are mandatory and some gloves will avoid cuts.

Beside of this there is "Dirt Bike Adventure". 

Considering the bad condition of the street this are real adventure and often there is no road
Dirt Bike Adventure
at all, but a small trail which give a sense to dirt bike tours.

Once the playground of French colonialists, later occupied by Vietnamese soldiers, the walls of this grand structure are now a mosaic with bullet holes and graffiti. 

The misty view of the coast.

When looking down from the plateau to the southern coast is a breathtaking experience. The best viewpoint is behind the blackened walls of the Palace Hotel and Casino. It is possible to book accommodations at the hill station at the Ranger HQ.

the bus from Phnom Penh to Kampot

hiking upwards slowly

everyone in good mood and no problems yet

the sharp bamboo poles popping out from the earth makes no fun in the slippery terrain

a quick introduction from the guide and the soldier was always watching

the jungle got sometimes thick and slippery better be in good condition

pretty lotus flowers in a pond

hiking up the hill through the jungle

on the way up over the stream

the jungle got sometimes thick and slippery

hiking up hopefully they cleared the mines

a very primitive drive up since the road was mostly a dirt trail only
exploring the remains of the burnt hill station casino

exploring the remains of the hill station casino

Bokor national park view is pretty

view from the hill station over the South China Sea towards west

some mad communist supported from China did this nonsense

the war remains of the national park

Bokor national park hill station burned buildings from the war

part of the Bokor national park pool with not much water because of dry season

beautiful nature in Cambodia in a remote place

the great waterfall at Cambodia National Park at Kampot

the great waterfall at Cambodia National Park at Kampot

small bus to Sihanoukville and long road travel

approaching Sihanoukville from Bokor national park in the afternoon

At the Ochheuteal beach side in Sihanoukville nightlife

At the Ochheuteal beach side in Sihanoukville in the evening